Thoughts on 60

George Carlin's wife died early in 2008 and George followed her, dying in July 2008. It is ironic George Carlin - comedian of the 70's and 80's - could write something so very eloquent and so very appropriate. An observation by George Carlin:

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We've learned how to make a living, but not a life. We've added years to life not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We've done larger things, but not better things.

We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete.

Remember to spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.

Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.

Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn't cost a cent.

Remember, to say, 'I love you' to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.

Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.

Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.

And always remember, life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by those moments that take our breath away.

13 reasons to be excited about being sixty!


1. Being alive

We know, we know. Seems like an obvious one, right? But at sixty, you've been lucky enough to have a relatively long and full life-- some people don't make it this far! At sixty, make sure to cheers to you and all the days ahead.

2. Watching your kids grow


Your kids, if you've got 'em, have been a huge part of your life. Often it's hard to let them grow up and leave the nest, but if you take a moment to look at who they have grown up to be, you see the beauty parenting. You've done the work, now it's time to enjoy more in-depth conversations, accompanied by the occasional glass of red wine!

3. Spending quality time with family


Going off of number 2, the rest of your family is a huge social opportunity at sixty. You're likely in charge of coordinating holiday gatherings, making phone calls, and setting up activities with your loved ones. Maybe it's time for a big reunion with you on the planning committee!


4. Starting creative projects


Sixty is the perfect age to get creative. Needlepoint, painting, dance, and other activities can expand your mind and fulfill your desire to express yourself. Check out your local recreational facilities and programs for inspiration.

5. Celebrating successes

By now, you've likely got a laundry list of achievements. Try writing them all down and appreciating YOUR hard work in this life of yours! Whether it be personal goals or more public awards, everyone has something to be proud of at sixty.

6. Showing gratitude


Breathe in, breathe out. Be grateful for everything, because life is short! You can find so many things to be thankful for at sixty, including the small, everyday details. According to Harvard Health, giving thanks can lead to a happier life.

7. Teaching and giving advice to the next generation


Because you've gained so much incredible experience over the years, why not mentor someone who's just getting started? Whether it be a family member or someone younger in your industry, you've got valuable insight that may change a life.

8. Focusing on YOU!


Sixty presents the unique opportunity to not only connect with those around you, but to look inward and focus on bettering yourself. Take a spa day, eat your veggies, and stretch! There's never a time to stop growing.

9. Discovering music, new and old


What was your favorite music when you were a teenager? Listen to the oldies, or check out the music that today's young people are into to get inspired! The music industry has changed quite a bit, and you might find yourself dancing in your kitchen to something unexpected. . .

10. Focusing on your health

Taking care of your health doesn't have to be a negative experience. Instead of thinking about the things you CAN'T do, think of the new opportunities for you and your body. Take a walk with your friends, try a new salad recipe, and see your therapist! 

11. Learning from mistakes of the past


The great thing about gaining wisdom at sixty is that you don't make the same mistakes. Life is easier, your communication is better, and you know to look out for red flags. That's something to celebrate!

12. Growing in your marriage

If you've had a partner for a while, you build routines together. But in these routines you gain a level of comfort and familiarity that is rare and special! Take your partner for a trip or go somewhere unexpected. The magic is alive at sixty.

13. Enjoying good food

Last but not least, food. There's nothing more visceral and universal than the love of food. At sixty you can still use your tastebuds to experience the world around you. Try foods from other countries, or make your own at home! It feels good to be SIXTY!

SIXTY - An Essay by Kevin Salwen

Sixty. Damn, that sounds old. Three score; five dozen; a half-century plus an entire decade. Sixty.


Old enough to have ridden in Studebakers and Ramblers, having rolled down the windows with a crank. Old enough to have shopped for 45s by artists wearing ties who appeared on TV with some chisel-faced white guy named Dick Clark or his afro’d black counterpart, Don Cornelius. Old enough to have felt the discomfort of urban riots, the Vietnam War, Watergate. Most importantly, old enough to have experienced the pain of loss – of parents, friends, siblings, possibly even children.


It would be easy to feel old, to obsess on how I’m playing the Back Nine. But I don’t. I simply feel indescribably lucky. That doesn’t mean I don’t recognize loss, of both my parents, of my beloved brother-in-law, of buddies from college. But I choose to marvel at the miracle of my life. 


Turning 60 has allowed us to experience so much. . . 

Just think for a moment about how the world has changed as the calendars have turned. Food is healthier and more varied (thanks anyway, Swanson, but you can keep your Salisbury steak). Technology now allows us to hold a jukebox in our hands, then tune into an educational podcast or a song our kids have recommended. Those same devices allow us to research just about anything, stay in touch with family, avoid getting lost without asking some clueless gas station attendant. And as the guy who often had to hold the antennas to get an adequate signal on our family’s black and white TV, I’ll take today’s hi-def any time. I could go on: medical care is mind-bogglingly good (albeit imperfect); hotels are infinitely more comfortable (although I do miss Magic Fingers); travel is no longer for the elite; media is more varied and far more interesting.


From a family perspective, I’ve gotten to build an amazing 30-year marriage to my college sweetheart, Joan. I’ve seen my kids grow from tantrum throwers to awkward teens to young professionals playing on their company softball teams. Someday in the near future, I’ll probably have some grandkids to spoil. What joy.


But 60 means something else to me too. Beyond the present, I find myself expectantly, almost breathlessly, looking to the future. I’m not a Pollyanna, I recognize the dangers in the world. But I’m 60 at a time when life expectancy has soared past 80. There’s a great chance I’ve got another couple of decades to build on what’s already been.


Over the past year, I’ve been involved with a Stanford University program that’s housed at the school’s Center on Longevity. What’s become crystal clear to me is that we still live in a world that sees 60 as old, from mandatory retirement ages to senior discounts to AARP’s nagging letters. Our systems have barely budged from decades ago.


But we have. We’re bursting with opportunity. We create businesses starting later in our lives. We keep our brains and our bodies engaged in thriving lives much longer. You could say that we’re 60 the way Roger Maris had 61 homers – with an asterisk. In our cases, though, the asterisk shows that we’re ready for next chapter, the coming creative burst. 


As for me, I’m finishing a new book. I’ve got another one in the pipeline. Then I’ve got a plan to write a screenplay – a process that will require studying the art form first before I ever put a word into pixels. The physical part matters too: I hit the gym every morning for cardio or some weightlifting or dreaded ab work. (Doing plank is so much fun, said no one ever.) And I always make sure to talk to my family as much as I can.


That’s what 60 means to me: A chance to build on experiences for a future full of possibility. I’ll slow down some time, but for now I’ll keep my eyes trained on what’s next, always aware that my six decades of living has taught me so very much.


So raise a glass and toast the future. Welcome to 60.